Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #53: May 2010
Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership), which is leading the national movement for Safe Routes to School by coordinating and energizing more than 500 organizations, government agencies, schools and professional groups. Our mission is to advocate for safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities.
To receive future issues of E-News, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue:
1. Help Shape the Partnership’s 2011-2015 Strategic Plan
Please fill out a survey
2. We’re Hiring A Development Director
Applications are due May 17
3. Resources to Implement SRTS in Low-Income Schools
Learn more by signing up for our June webinars
4. Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Federal Update
Transportation tidbits and climate bill confusion
5. National Physical Activity Plan Launched on May 3
Includes a comprehensive set of strategies to increase physical activity
6. May is National Bike Month
To show your support for bicycling, sign the pledge at peopleforbikes.org!
7. Safe Routes to School State Network Update
School Siting and Complete Streets Are Top Network Policy Priorities
8. Delaware SRTS in Full Motion
Forging ahead with both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects
9. Washington State Releases Resource Document
Providing guidance for communities to be more supportive of walking and bicycling
10. SRTS News Throughout the Country
Local and state SRTS program news links
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership (the Partnership) is developing a strategic plan for the years 2011 through 2015, and we are looking for input from our partners and e-news subscribers. All partner organizations should have already received an email on Monday, May 3 from Deb Hubsmith inviting you to share your thoughts on the Safe Routes to School movement and the role of the Partnership. Subscribers to E-News and individuals also have an opportunity to fill out a survey which is posted online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NTVVLWF. Feel free to spread this link to others who are interested in the future of Safe Routes to School.
This is a critical time for Safe Routes to School and for the Partnership. The adoption of the strategic plan will hopefully coincide with new federal transportation legislation that could strengthen and expand the federal Safe Routes to School program over a five to six year time period. In addition, there is growing energy in the health, environment, and transportation fields around Safe Routes to School and built environment issues.
We circulated targeted surveys to several audiences, so if you receive more than one invitation, you only need to fill out one survey. We anticipate that the survey should take you approximately 20 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey no later than Friday, May 21 so that your views are included in the development of the Partnership’s strategic plan. We will be presenting a draft copy of the Strategic Plan at our Annual Meeting on Monday, September 13 at Pro Walk/Pro Bike in Chattanooga, TN.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership, which is hosted by the non-profit Bikes Belong Foundation, seeks an enthusiastic, motivated and experienced professional with a successful track record in leading fundraising campaigns with corporations, foundations and individuals to serve as Development Director.
The Development Director will report to the Director of the Partnership, and is an exciting new leadership position within the organization. The Development Director holds the responsibility for securing and growing the organization’s annual operating budget. The position also includes national outreach to new and existing partner organizations. The full job description is available at http://saferoutespartnership.org/DevelopmentDirector
The place of employment will be your home office in the United States. A computer, telephone, internet service, and P.O. Box will be provided. The Development Director will work full time (40 hours per week) and receive health benefits and paid-time-off. The starting salary is commensurate with experience, up to $75,000/year. There will be limited travel within the United States.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and three writing samples in one PDF file to: Deb Hubsmith (email@example.com), Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Applications must be received by May 17 at 5 PM EST and in the specified format to be considered for interviews, which will take place during the week of May 24. Telephone inquiries will not be accepted, but the receipt of all complete applications will be acknowledged with an email. The position is expected to start in mid-to-late July.
In June, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership will release a new resource guide for SRTS volunteers and professionals, entitled “Implementing Safe Routes to School in Low-Income Schools and Communities.” The forthcoming guide highlights promising practices and creative strategies that have been successfully employed in low-income communities throughout the country.
As part of the roll-out of the new resource guide, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership will be holding two webinars to help non-profit organizations and community residents come together and collaborate to develop culturally sensitive, inclusive and successful SRTS initiatives.
Webinar 1: Tuesday, June 8, 2010, 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST
Register at: http://www.instantpresenter.com/PIID=EE55DE8088
This webinar will focus on efforts at low-income schools designed to engage parents as volunteers and champions for SRTS, as well as strategies to reduce crime and violence near schools. Speakers include:
- Nora Cody, Safe Routes to School Director, TransForm, Alameda County, CA
- Nikki Trevino, Program Coordinator, Austin Healthy Adolescent Initiative, Austin, TX
Webinar 2: Thursday, June 17, 2010, 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST
Register at: http://www.instantpresenter.com/PIID=EE55DE8089
Low-income communities often have limited access to professional expertise, such as planners and engineers, who are critical to planning and obtaining funds for Safe Routes to School programs. In this webinar, learn about two communities in which the local government or a non-profit stepped forward to collaborate with community residents and parents to implement Safe Routes to School initiatives and build buy-in with city leaders. Speakers include:
- Bill Swiatek, Senior Planner, Wilmington Area Planning Council, Wilmington, DE
- Christy Filby, parent champion, Ridgeway Elementary School, East Moline, IL
We hope you will sign up for both webinars. We look forward to sharing these promising local SRTS practices with you!
The month of April saw several great developments on Safe Routes to School and the federal transportation bill. Momentum is definitely growing:
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued the state-by-state funding levels for transportation programs for FY2010, totaling $183M nationwide. This means that each state now has new funding available for this year for Safe Routes to School. We encourage states to move forward with holding new grant competitions in the coming months.
- On April 14, Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Safe Routes to School and bicycle and pedestrian safety. In her testimony, Hubsmith called attention to the grave disparities between the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed each year in traffic crashes and the small proportion of funding that is used by states to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. She highlighted Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, increasing the use of safety funds for bicycle and pedestrian safety, and improving data collection as ways to address these disparities. Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) asked Hubsmith questions on bicycle and pedestrian safety. The hearing can be viewed on the Senate EPW Committee’s website; Hubsmith’s testimony begins approximately 60 minutes into the video, and the questions follow at the end.
- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) participated in a walk to school event at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Indianapolis on April 23. The Partnership’s steering committee vice-chair Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists also led a bike train for students. LaHood then accompanied Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) to a Safe Routes to School kick-off event at St. Joan of Arc School, also in Indianapolis. The Secretary blogged about his experience, and enthusiastically wrote about the benefits of Safe Routes to School.
- Earlier in the month, on April 9, Margo Pedroso, Deputy Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, participated in the White House Childhood Obesity Summit. The built environment, land use planning, and Safe Routes to School were mentioned by several participants in the summit. Input from summit participants will be incorporated into a forthcoming childhood obesity action plan.
- Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Recommendations for Improving Health through Transportation Policy that demonstrates the impact transportation has on health. One of the recommendations is to provide states with tools to help them evaluate and expand investments in Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Finally, the climate bill recently had its momentum thrown to a halt. A bipartisan group of Senators—Senators Kerry (D-MA), Lieberman (I-CT), and Graham (R-SC)—had been negotiating compromise language on a climate and energy security bill. One of the bill’s reported provisions would have directed some climate funds to the transportation sector to help fill the funding shortfall that has been holding up the transportation bill. Shortly before the proposal outline was to be released last week, Senator Graham pulled out of the negotiations over concerns that Senate leadership would move an immigration reform bill before the climate bill. Senators Kerry and Lieberman did go ahead and send their draft proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for review. The next month will be critical to see if Senator Graham and Senate leadership can resolve their differences and move forward with Senate consideration of a climate bill.
The first-ever National Physical Activity Plan launched on May 3, 2010. The Plan is a comprehensive set of strategies including policies, practices, and initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity in all segments of the population. Dozens of national and local organizations participated in the development of the Plan, including the American Heart Association, CDC, YMCA, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
The Plan idea began after the release of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which prompted action to ensure a greater ability to comply with those guidelines. National Plans in other domains such as smoking cessation, diabetes and arthritis have proven successful in the U.S.
The goals of the National Physical Activity Plan are to create a sustained and resourced social movement, develop new and innovative strategies for promoting physical activity, and to provide periodic evaluations to assess achievements in increasing physical activity.
The Plan makes a compelling and urgent case for increasing physical activity in the U.S., provides a clear roadmap for actions that support short and long term progress in increasing Americans’ physical activity, and includes strategies for increasing physical activity in all population groups while reducing disparities.
Here are just a few of the many tactics outlined in the Plan:
- Support transportation agencies and planning organizations to establish performance measures for transportation plans that are specific to physical activity and health. This should include systematic measurement of all trips, including commute, school, and other trips as well as standardized reporting and recording of crash and injury data for all travel modes including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders.
- Support annual reporting by all schools of their transportation mode split.
- Expand “safe routes” initiatives at national, state, county and local levels to enable safe walking and biking routes to a variety of destinations, especially to schools.
- Support federal and state education, transportation, and health agencies in the development of school siting policies that locate schools for maximum active transportation and other physical activity utilization.
- Support the development of standards and identification of “best practices” for the dissemination and adoption of “safe routes” initiatives such as “Safe Routes to School”, “Bike-to-Work”, and other active transportation programs.
- Support and increase incentives for the adoption and expansion of “safe routes” initiatives such as “Safe Routes to School”, “Bike-to-Work”, and other active transportation programs.
6. May is National Bike Month
To show your support for bicycling, sign the pledge at peopleforbikes.org!
Bikes Belong Coalition, the national group of more than 400 top U.S. bike suppliers and retailers working to create more and better places to ride, announced the launch of peopleforbikes.org during presentations at the National Bike Summit and the Bicycle Leadership Conference. This unprecedented initiative aims to unite one million bicyclists of all riding styles and abilities to encourage government leaders to support legislation that improves bike paths, lanes, trails, and other facilities from coast to coast.
The official launch of the initiative came on the eve of the 2010 Sea Otter Classic – one of the world’s largest annual racing and consumer bike expos – April 15-18, in Monterey, CA, Even before peopleforbikes.org officially launched, nearly than 10,000 people had signed the pledge in support of a better future for biking. The campaign worked successfully to add to this total at the Sea Otter event, which is now going on 20,000. Mountain bike legends Gary Fisher and Dave Wiens both pledged their support at Sea Otter, and Lance Armstrong has since asked his more than 2 million Twitter followers to sign the pledge.
The launch was also highlighted by the collective commitment of more than 150 bike industry leaders, including the CEOs of Cannondale, Fuji, Giant, Raleigh, Schwinn, Shimano, SRAM, Specialized, Trek, and other top bike equipment companies, who also pledged to urge others to follow their lead.
In addition to asking individuals to sign the pledge, peopleforbikes.org encourages people to make the movement their own. The site offers a place to share biking stories, download local action kits, write letters to support pro-bike policies, and more. You can also download web banners, Facebook badges, flyers, and more at www.peopleforbikes.org/downloads to show your support.
Visit www.peopleforbikes.org to sign the pledge for a better future for bicycling. What better time to support this growing movement than during the month of May, National Bike Month!
The 20 states participating in the State Network Project recently completed their action planning process, and school siting and complete streets are the most popular policy priorities for 2010. These are both very important issues, since they have a profound effect on the success of Safe Routes to School and the ability for children to have healthy and safe physical activity in their communities.
Since only about 40% of students in the United States live within two miles of their school, statewide policies and funding formulas on school siting, acreage requirements, joint-use agreements, and renovations to schools can profoundly impact the percentage of students who live within walking or bicycling distance of their school.
Complete streets policies embrace a practice where the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of all roadway and transit facilities, as well as developments and new schools, consider and include the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians from the inception of the project.
For more information about the State Network Project or to participate in your state, go to: www.saferoutespartnership.org/state/network
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new web based resource for law enforcement officers, Safe Routes to School for Law Enforcement. Safe Routes to School for Law Enforcement is designed to promote and aid officers and law enforcement agencies in local Safe Routes to School efforts. The resource includes tools such as:
- Tips for law enforcement officers on walking and bicycling safety;
- Take away materials for students, parents, school staff, and others;
- Talking points on bicycle and pedestrian safety;
- Tips on addressing parental concerns;
- Links to related sites for resource materials; and
- Activities for children.
Delaware currently has 24 schools that have been awarded federally-funded SRTS planning assistance, non-infrastructure programming, or construction projects. These schools are located within 13 different municipalities and all three counties. Seven construction projects benefiting nine schools have been completed, including new sidewalks, marked crosswalks, curb ramps, bulb-outs, mixed-use paths, bike racks, and signage improvements. Five construction projects are currently under construction, and will be completed this summer.
In terms of some of the non-infrastructure activities taking place, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School in Wilmington is working with Nemours Foundation on a “Steps Across Delaware” walking contest between classrooms. Students will use pedometers provided through SRTS to track their steps for the competition. There is a partnership between the Town of Middletown Police Department and the Appoquinimink School District to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety through radar and traffic enforcement at school safety checkpoints. They are also working together to provide bicycle and pedestrian educational information. The Town of Elsmere Police Department is also partnering with the schools within its town limits to provide increased, targeted traffic enforcement.
In addition to local Safe Routes to School activities, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) sponsors statewide activities available to all elementary or middle schools. Currently DelDOT is sponsoring a poster contest for 3rd-5th grade students throughout the state. Students have been asked to submit entries illustrating bicycle or pedestrian safety concepts based on their grade level. Winning entries, along with bicycle and pedestrian safety tips, will be featured on an 18-month calendar and in pocket folders that will be available for elementary and intermediate schools.
For more information on the Delaware Safe Routes to School Program, you may access the program website at http://www.srts.deldot.gov or contact the program coordinator, Sarah Coakley, AICP at (302)760-2236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), in conjunction with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), sponsored the completion of a resource document – School Walk and Bike Routes: A Guide for Planning and Improving Walk and Bike to School Options for Students. It is a revision and update of the 2003 School Administrator’s Guide to School Walk Routes and Student Pedestrian Safety. The Guidebook:
- Explains the Washington State laws and liabilities associated with school walk route plans and student pedestrian and bicycle safety;
- Identifies potential partnerships and responsibilities for improving student pedestrian and bicycle safety;
- Suggests processes for developing and maintaining school walk and bike routes; and
- Recommends procedures that can be used to create a pedestrian and/or bicycle safety improvement plan and begin implementing needed improvements including education, encouragement, enforcement, and engineering efforts.
The purpose of the guide is to provide technical assistance and support for student pedestrian and bicycle safety issues in compliance with regulations that apply to state agencies and Washington State laws. It provides guidance for schools and their communities to move toward more supportive environments for school children and their families to walk and bicycle.
For additional information contact Charlotte Claybrooke at (360) 705-7302 or ClaybrC@wsdot.wa.gov.
Safe Routes to School news around the country keeps growing! Updated regularly, see our new Safe Routes to School in the News media center for the latest in local, state, and national SRTS news.
Help Grow the National Partnership!
Joining the National Partnership is free. Please encourage other organizations, schools, businesses, and government agencies to join the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a network of more than 500 organizations and agencies.
Funding for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership has been generously provided by the Bikes Belong Coalition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SRAM Cycling Fund, individuals and partner affiliates.
For more information, contact: